I am looking to connect with some realtors in my local area, but don't know the best questions to ask when interviewing them to know if someone is a good one or not. Advice?
@Lauren Olson call them and see if they answer the phone or return your call in a timely manner, that is the best first step. After that I'd focus on their market knowledge for the type of investing you want to do, other than that every realtor will be about the same with paperwork, you need to find someone you just click with even though it sounds cliche.
@Lauren Olson Ask the Realtor if they are a fellow investor. If they aren’t move on. There are plenty of Realtors that are fellow investors. They understand they will be pulling a lot of comps for you as you look for your next investment properties. Especially if you are looking for rentals. You need to get not only the sold comps to see if property is priced right. But you also need the rental comps to ensure you do your own due diligence and property will cash flow.
@Joe Funari Thanks, that’s great info to start
I would start with 2 questions. How many rentals to you own? How many downturns have you experienced while in the business?
Another great way is to ask friends, family, co-workers, or any others that you trust for references. They will have first hand experience.
I don't know where you located but I know of great agents in Bend Oregon if you're looking for one here!
Adding to what others said, go to an open house that they are hosting and see what they are like.
Where is your local market, your profile doesn't state.
When looking for an agent you want someone that you're comfortable with, as personalities vary widely. Look around and you'll see what offices are doing the bulk of the business in your area. They don't necessarily have to be franchise offices, and in fact, non franchise brokers often have more flexibility in commisisons, etc.
If you're an investor, before going to see an agent, take some time to educate yourself; and do your homework, especially in a hot market. Get up to speed on the market. Go out to open houses and look in ads, see what you're getting for your money. What size are the homes? What are the finishes? (Wood cabinets, composite, laminate, etc. Tile, laminate, engineered wood flooring? Tile, formica, granite or quartz countertops, etc.) How big is the lot? Learn to make comparisons as you would with anything you're buying. On rentals, do searches of local rentals and see what you're getting for the money, etc. Compare apples to apples.
Know your comfort zone on what you want to pay, know what your financing is going to be and what it will take to meet the debt service. Make sure that you're ready to take action quickly, as houses in hot markets are going fast.
Agents are happy to set you up with auto emails that fit your criteria, and take you out to look at houses that you're seriously considering. Once you find the house, get inspections etc. and make informed decisions.
@Lauren Olson I think you need to find a Realtor whom you are comfortable working with whom you feel will not be afraid to give you "the bad news" and is not a BSer. Find one that will give you the level of service you want. I advocate finding one that will do it willingly without binding you to a contract that says that you will pay them no matter how you find a home - in most of those situations, I see captive Buyers that receive bad customer service. Or I see Buyers being served by Realtors that are starving (because there is so much competition and being a Realtor is their only income stream). In this case, Realtors push people toward properties that they want to sell, or that may be "easier to sell". Some would say, finding a Realtor that only has 1 income stream is better, though to me, there is always implied pressure of "please like this home, and buy it so I can pay my mortgage/rent". That is another question that makes me chuckle, how can a Realtor push someone toward buying a home, when they don't own one themselves? Or when a Realtor may be so busy that getting an answer from them within a short time is like pulling teeth. Call any Realtor, do they answer the phone? My wife hates it, though I answer the phone all the time except during meals, scheduled family time, or when out of cell range. I call people back. Or do they get back to you with an automated text message? Personally, I don't use a transaction coordinator or an assistant because I have never seen a transaction where that other person (non-Realtor) that wasn't in a conversation, get the details right the first time. I have seen lots of Realtors blame their assistants for mistakes. How does that work? No personal accountability - they hired the person!?
I get most of my referrals because I am extremely patient and show homes as long as the Buyer wants to go see, knowing of course that as time goes on home prices creep up from season to season, in this market anyways. And I don't ask anyone to do anything I haven't done myself. Also ask Realtors about worst-case scenarios? Or what would they do? All deals start rosy and transcend into some version of sour, some mildly and some grossly because there is a lot of emotion in deals, and not every Seller is accommodating to requests. For most, this is the largest purchase Buyers will make. Finding the right property is about finding the right property you, as the Buyer, are comfortable with. i.e. In my personal search for homes, I have fired lenders in the middle of transactions. If a transaction goes a direction I don't want, if it is not salvageable, I have no problem walking away with it and I don't lose earnest money. I tell my Buyers the same thing. If one doesn't work out, go find another one.
Just my 2 cents.
@Frank Lesowske Thanks, I am in Salem, but we are interested in short term rentals in that area, if you do have someone you would recommend for that please let me know!
@Karen Margrave Thank you, that is great info. I am in Salem, Oregon. I have been doing some research just from the Zillow type sites, and know my price range.
How do you find which brokerage is doing the most deals? Just by who is listing on the sites or is there another way? Thank you for your advice and time!
@Steve Milford Thanks so much, that is great info! Lots to think about. I am developing a list of questions to ask when interviewing them so thanks for the great advice!
I totally agree with you on the personal responsibility.
@Lauren Olson Are there any BP meetups in Salem? If so, go to that and talk to some of the people there, and ask if they know anyone. Usually offices like Berkshire Hathaway, etc. have some great agents.
Hi Lauren, some of the questions that I would ask: 1) How many properties did you list last year, and how many did you sell? You want a successful realtor, but not so successful that they are too busy to reply to your emails and phone calls or to show you properties. 2) Do you have a list of vendors for minor repairs to full remodels? A list of reliable and already vetted vendors is worth your weight in gold. 3) Can you provide me a list of references? When you get the references, make sure you call them!
Let me know if you are interested in a realtor referral. I have an excellent recommendation that assisted me in purchasing my current home and my rental. Not only does she have over 20+ years experience as a realtor in the Salem/Keizer area, and she is very good at what she does, but she is also a very kind and thoughtful person.
Here's a quick and easy one, and quite frankly, I think it's the best way to determine if they're someone you should work with... Ask them to email you a printout of all of the properties they've sold within the past year. This is very easy to do in MLS. Many agents simply won't do this. That's likely because they haven't sold much. Don't worry about them. For those that do, sift through the transactions, the agent that has the most properties that you would have purchased is the agent that you should work with.
Best of luck to you!
@Paulo Metts Great info and questions to ask, Thank you!
@Cameron Norfleet That is a great idea! Thanks Cameron